Highlights from the 2022 SEforALL Forum in Kigali
Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and the Government of Rwanda welcomed more than 1,300 people from around the world to the global SEforALL Forum in Kigali from 17-19 May. The much-anticipated, landmark event for sustainable energy had to be postponed twice due to Covid-19, but the wait proved to be worth it.
In addition to being held in-person, the entire Forum was streamed online for those unable to attend in Kigali, and around 2,800 tuned in to watch.
For all those attending and watching, the Forum aimed to reinforce the fact that achieving global energy, climate and development goals must happen in tandem to achieve a just and equitable energy transition.
The three days were filled with inspiring talks, bold commitments and transformative actions that have the potential to deliver accelerated progress towards clean, affordable energy for all by 2030 and net zero by mid-century.
Here are just a few highlights from the 2022 SEforALL Forum.
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame opens the Forum
It was an honour to host His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, at the opening ceremony of the Forum on 17 May.
In line with the Forum’s theme of “Driving Bold Action for a People-Centred Energy Transition,” President Kagame emphasized the need for a just and equitable energy transition.
“By integrating sustainable energy in pandemic recovery plans, we can accelerate the transition to clean power,” President Kagame said. “But the transition must be just and equitable. This means it should align with Africa’s development priorities and aspirations to ensure no one is left behind. At the same time, there needs to be increased financing to developing countries to support climate adaptation, in line with international agreements. Africa cannot carry the burden alone, especially given that its emissions did not create the climate emergency.”
Two Ministerial Roundtables were held during the Forum, one for Africa and another for the Asia-Pacific region.
The goal of the Africa Ministerial was to take initial steps in defining their requirements for a just and equitable energy transition in Africa, starting a discussion that can be carried forward into COP27 this fall in Egypt.
Ministers and high-level representatives from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe participated in the roundtable, along with a select group of observers.
After rigorous discussion, the countries agreed on seven transformative actions towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 in Africa, outlining them in the Kigali Communique.
Meanwhile, the Asia-Pacific Roundtable included representatives from Bangladesh, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, who focused their discussion on what’s needed to scale up finance for the energy transition in the region. It was an opportunity for countries to convey their needs to several major financial institutions who were also in attendance, and to set a course for collaboration with them.
USD 347 million in commitments made
One of the main objectives of the Forum was to spur investment in clean energy access, efficiency and transition.
Energy finance was a focus of the Ministerial discussions and several sessions throughout the three days. Financial innovations like results-based financing were highlighted as promising solutions for the off-grid sector to bring life-changing energy to rural communities.
But the Forum also offered a platform for new financial commitments to be announced. Approximately USD 347 million of new funding was announced, which included the following:
- Bloomberg Philanthropies committed USD 242 million to accelerate the clean energy transition in 10 developing countries, including Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, and South Africa, through partnerships with SEforALL, the ClimateWorks Foundation, and other key partners to expand renewable energy capacity and access while phasing out coal use.
- Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) committed USD 50 million to further its multi-year support for SEforALL to support scale-up of the Universal Energy Facility, the results-based financing facility managed by SEforALL, and to also support countries’ energy access and transition plans.
- IKEA Foundation announced USD 5.8 million in funding also to support the scale-up of the Universal Energy Facility.
- Innovate UK’s Energy Catalyst announced that up to GBP 40 million will be issued to help combat the climate crisis for communities in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Indo-Pacific regions.
Launch of new SEforALL research and initiatives
For SEforALL, the Forum provided a showcase for new and emerging bodies of work.
We launched the latest Chilling Prospects research report that identified 1 in 7 people globally are at high risk due to lack of access to cooling and numbers will continue to rise by 2030 without action to achieve universal electrification and end extreme poverty.
The brand-new Sustainable Energy for All Knowledge Hub was on display at the Forum marketplace. This interactive platform provides sustainable energy policy makers and practitioners with off-the-shelf guidelines, tools, templates and cases studies on energy policy and regulation published by international organizations and thought leaders.
Mission Efficiency was unveiled as a collective of commitments and actions on energy efficiency made by governments, organizations and other initiatives. SEforALL and partners of the former Three Percent Club on Energy Efficiency will be developing Mission Efficiency in the coming months.
A space for youth voices
The level of youth engagement at the Forum was truly remarkable. With approximately 300 youth delegates attending in Kigali, it’s clear this group wants an active role in shaping the energy transition.
We made it a key priority to have youth voices heard during the Forum, which is why young people representing different regions featured prominently throughout the three days on the main stage and in various partner sessions.
Meanwhile, a dedicated SDG7 Youth Hub bustled with energy, as youth hosted their own sessions on topics such as securing finance for youth-run businesses, cross-continental cooperation for SDG7, career speed networking, and more.
At the opening plenary on Day 1 Secretary John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and Fatoumata Diarrassouba, Co-Founder of Afrik’Energy Connect, talked about how youth can engage politically around energy and climate issues.
The “We the Inheritors” session also saw the new generation of global energy champions in dialogue with senior leaders, including Mary Robinson, Honorary President of the Africa-Europe Foundation, and former President of Ireland, and Cristina Duarte, Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa to the United Nations Secretary-General.
The impressive youth participation at the Forum was made possible thanks to sponsorship for youth delegations provided by Africa Europe Foundation, UNDP, the Government of Iceland, EU Commission, AES Corporation, Pan African Climate Justice Alliance and WRI.
The power of partnership
Above all, the Forum highlighted that progress on energy, climate and development goals will only happen if we work together.
“It is really encouraging to see so many people here who truly care about Sustainable Development Goal 7 and want to work together because they know we have to collaborate if we want to succeed,” said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy.
The opportunity to connect with old and new partners alike is what drove hundreds of attendees to come to Kigali and to participate online, with many of them taking advantage of the GET.invest Matchmaking platform to connect with potential business partners, public and private investors, and policymakers through selected personal meetings.
The connections made and conversations had during the Forum are the seeds for further collaboration that can bring us closer to the goal of clean, affordable energy for all and net-zero.
Of course, SEforALL could not have produced such a successful Forum without the generous support of our many partners, particularly our co-host, the Government of Rwanda.
We want to thank SEforALL’s funders and our many Forum sponsors who made this event possible: All On, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, OPEC Fund, The Rockefeller Foundation, AECF, Energy Catalyst, Clean Cooking Alliance, Ecobank, Enel Green Power, World Bank ESMAP, the European Union, Google, GWEC, Modern Energy Cooking Services, Power Africa, the AES Corporation, ClimateWorks Foundation, IKEA Foundation, Infracredit, International Copper Association, and the Islamic Development Bank.